Everything you need to know about terrarium lighting

deep heat projector

Lighting the terrarium is essential for all reptiles. A source of light, it also provides the heat and UV rays necessary for their well-being. All reptiles do not have the same needs and the lighting parameters of a terrarium must be adapted according to the species you have. If you’re about to adopt a reptile, here’s a great article to learn all about lighting a terrarium. What types of terrarium lighting are there? What are the ideal parameters? All our tips for getting started.

The role of lighting in a reptile terrarium

Having quality lighting for your reptile has several benefits. On the one hand, the lighting offers a day / night cycle so as not to disturb the animal’s cycle and allows, in the middle of the day, that it has better visibility if the terrarium is placed in a dark corner of the house. . The presence of UVB rays is essential for the health of a reptile since it allows the photosynthesis of vitamin D3, a vital vitamin for the reptile since it allows to maintain a sufficient concentration of calcium in the blood.

Types of lights

Beyond visible light, that which allows lighting and which is perceptible by all, there are two other types of essential light for reptiles: infrared and UV which can be broken down into three categories.

Deep heat projector

This radiation is invisible to man, he can only feel it through the source of heat emanating from it. This type of light is beneficial to reptiles which cannot stand large lights as well as during the night so as not to break the day / night cycle while continuing to heat the terrarium. But for reptiles provided with photosensitive dimples, which can perceive the radiation, it will be necessary to choose deep heat projector.


The UV rays come in three categories, including the famous essential UVB reptiles. UVB rays do not emit heat, which is why they must be paired with a heat lamp. Note that UVB lamps do not last forever, after a certain time the radiation weakens and the lamp must be changed even if it continues to light. Thus, every 6 to 12 months it is advisable to replace its lighting.

Types of terrarium lighting

There are several types of lamps for lighting and heating a terrarium, each has different characteristics and they are to be chosen according to the effect you want.

The incandescent lamp

This is the easiest type of lamp to find because it is the most used. They are a great source of light and come in different colors in order to have a source of heat and a more subdued light so as not to disturb the reptile during the night.

This type of lamp makes it possible to create a localized hot spot, the areas of the terrarium farther from the lamp will have a lower temperature in order to constitute a thermal gradient.

Ceramic lamps

Ideal day and night, ceramic lamps only produce infrared waves, and therefore heat. They can thus be used at night without risking disrupting the reptile’s biological clock since they do not illuminate.

Compact lamps

Compact lamps or fluorescent bulbs, this type of lighting has a great emission of light which is suitable for all reptiles but produces little heat because its UVB radiation is weak. A fluorescent bulb lamp is ideal as a complement to an infrared lamp. Economical in terms of price and energy consumption, there are also models with greater UV emission despite lower lighting. In any case, it will often be necessary to combine this lamp with another type of lighting.


The halides are the best you can find in terms of the ratio of light to UV rays. But this device is expensive to purchase and install because it requires a specific terrarium to contain it. It is therefore a lighting that is suitable for large terrariums and not really for smaller models for leisure.

Install lighting in your terrarium

In order to provide sufficient heat and UVB rays to the species of reptile that one possesses, it is necessary to have a sufficient installation. To recreate the natural environment of the reptile, the terrarium must consist of a hot zone, a cool zone and a heat point, as well as a more or less illuminated zone. The light source must be the same in all areas of the terrarium, it is the hiding places and branches that will create the shadows. As for deep heat projector, one area of the terrarium should be warmer than the rest in order to create a space where the reptile can bathe in heat and UVB rays.



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